When runners speak, the races do listen. I've learned that more than once on this blog, and that's heartening. First, the news:
The Sporting Life 10K has named Cory Freedman its new race director after the big-city race faced runner backlash last May, admittedly falling "short" of expectations, the race organizer said Wednesday.
Freedman, who founded Toronto Women’s Run series, takes over from Jay Glassman, who will continue to serve as a consultant for the race that will be slated to run on May 11, 2014. Glassman's Running First organizes the Toronto Goodlife Marathon.
Last year's race -- one of Toronto's largest road races with 27,000 registered runners -- saw overcrowding at the finish line, even with a staggered start. The finish-line "chaos" as this blog documented and many runners on social media vented, sparked the Sporting Life and the charity Camp Ooch's decision to re-evaluate how the race was run.
|Photo from MySportsShooter|
“We put a committee together and broke down the run experience and what needed to improve," John Roe, director of marketing at Sporting Life, said in a statement outlining changes to the race. "We are also working on making improvements to the finish line experience. We have changed literally everything about the run to deliver the best possible experience for our participants.
"We owe that to the runners," he said.
“As Canada’s premier run for kids with cancer, I am excited and committed to providing a world-class experience for every participant who runs or walks for this incredible cause,” Freedman said in a statement.
Okay, so we got that over with, lets get down to the blog version of events
As you may recall, I first started writing about the 2013 Sporting Life 10K an hour after running the race in May:
I don't like writing these pieces but we have to call them as we see them. The organizers of the Goodlife Toronto Marathon last week and this week's Sporting Life 10K 2013 (chip results are here) are way in over their heads. You know it, they know it, and it's time to call them out.
Is Kenny being overreactive? Hmmm. Why don't we pull out this picture I took BEFORE we passed the finish line.
|Yes, this is us waiting, coming to a stop before we hit the last timing mat.|
You can read the back-forth on my original posts, one of my most read posts in this blog's history, just short of a 2011 blog post talking about bag check issues at Scotia in 2011 (which were fixed the following year, thanks to the chatter from runners).
What amazed most of the runners was the silence coming from the race director, and when he did speak out, he blamed novice runners for overcrowding.
But in the end, the runners spoke, and a whole bunch of runners wrote to me about what they would change about races in Toronto (part 1, part 2), everything from getting great fan support to focusing on one marquee marathon, not three.
Sporting Life reached out to me, and I gave them names and contacts of runners who were interested in consulting with the race. I don't know if they took any of the names, but I am gratified that they made a bold move.
Running can, as I've written, define a city. I just finished the Chicago Marathon, and was in wonder of how the city embraces the run, and running. Toronto is a running city. It's when runners demand more that we can become a great running city.
Other posts on the Sporting Life 10K 2013
Full release sent to me by Sporting Life below
October 15, 2013 – Sporting Life and Camp Oochigeas are thrilled to announce Cory Freedman CEO and Founder of MAX VO2 Management Inc. as the race director for the 2014 Sporting Life 10K. With two decades of experience in endurance event management, Cory contributes a unique blend of strategic skills that have led to the success of some of Canada’s most well-known and dynamic events. “As Canada’s premier run for kids with cancer, I am excited and committed to providing a world-class experience for every participant who runs or walks for this incredible cause,” says Freedman. Jay Glassman, who has been integral to the growth of the event for the past two years will remain closely involved in the event as a consultant working with the City of Toronto securing road closures, permits and other key logistical components.
“Last year while we had an unprecedented growth in the run, we fell short on a few expectations,” says John Roe, Director of Marketing at Sporting Life. “We put a committee together and broke down the run experience and what needed to improve. We brought on Events Online to make the online registration and gift card distribution smoother and more efficient. We have hired Sportstats for timing and easy to access results. We are also working on making improvements to the finish line experience. We have changed literally everything about the run to deliver the best possible experience for our participants.”
“We owe that to the runners,” Roe says. “They love our run, they love Camp Ooch and they deserve the best possible experience.” We feel very confident that 2014 will be our most successful race thus far from both the participant experience on race morning to us reaching our goal of raising more than $2.2M for Camp Oochigeas.
Taking place on along the iconic Yonge Street in Toronto, this annual event has more than doubled in size since 2011. In 2013 the race sold out at a capacity of 27,000 participants raising an exceptional $2.2M to provide kids with and affected by childhood cancer the magic of Camp Ooch.
“The Sporting Life 10k is such an integral part of Camp Ooch’s funding,” says Alex Robertson, Executive Director at Camp Oochigeas. “We are incredibly appreciative of how the Toronto community continues to rally around this annual event. Together we are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children with and affected by childhood cancer.” Registration for the 2014 Sporting Life 10k is set to open on .
About the Sporting Life 10k
The Sporting Life 10k is Canada’s premier running event that delivers a value-packed running experience and the largest net proceeds to charity. Since 2003, the Sporting Life 10K has made it possible for community members and runners/walkers to make a big impact on the life of children living with cancer. Signing up to raise funds or donate people will help Camp Oochigeas provide ground-breaking and magical camp experiences next summer for Ontario children and teens living withcancer.http://sportinglife10k.
About Camp Ooch
Founded in 1983, Camp Oochigeas, or “Ooch”, has been providing magical camp experiences for children with cancer for 30 years. Camp Ooch is much more than a summer camp. Ooch is the only residential camp in Ontario to offer on-site IV chemotherapy treatment and blood transfusions. Camp Ooch offers year-round programs for children affected by cancer in Muskoka, at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), two other regional cancer centres and Ooch Downtown in the heart of Toronto. Through these programs, Camp Oochigeas provides fun and meaningful experiences to approximately 800 children affected by cancer each year, at no cost to their families. This is all made possible by the generous support of donors and volunteers.